This mantra connects the finite and Infinite identities. The first "I Am" emphasizes the "I" and is the personal and finite sense of self. The second "I Am" emphasizes slightly the "Am" and is the impersonal and transcendent sense of the Self.
All real mantras blend this polarity of the Infinite and finite in their internal structure and design. If you only say the first "I Am", the mind will automatically try to answer, "I am what?" This sends the mind on a search through all the categories and roles that hold the finite identities.
If you immediately say the second part of the mantra, "I Am," the thought becomes "I Am what I Am." To be what you are is the essence of truth and will lead you to the nature of Reality.
A yogi cultivates the relationship between the finite sense of the self and the Infinite sense of the Self. The mind often forgets this relationship when it becomes attached to a particular emotion or object that it wants to keep. One of the important habits the yogi instills in the mind is the ability to break that trance of attachment by a shift to the perspective of Infinity.
This is also the perspective of Being. You exist before the objects you collect, and even before the body that you use. It is very powerful and effective to remind the mind of your true identity with your Infinite Being. Without this awareness, philosophy, ethics, and spirituality will reduce to ritual participation. What the yogi seeks is to participate in life with authenticity and wholeness.
The hand and the breath move in rhythm and strengthen your ability to maintain a sense of self as your awareness expands.
Posture: Sit in an Easy Pose, with a light jalandhar bandh. Keep the spine straight.
Mudra: Place the right hand over the right knee. Keep the elbow straight and the hand relaxed in Gyan Mudra (the index finger tip on the tip of the thumb). Raise the left hand in front of the Heart Center. The palm is flat and faces toward the chest. The fingers point to the right.
Eye Focus: 1/10th open
Mantra and Movement: Start with the left hand 6 inches (15 cm) from the chest. Chant out loud "I Am" as you draw the hand closer to the chest to a distance of about 4 inches (10 cm).
Then chant "I Am" as you extend the palm straight away from the front of the chest to a distance of about 12 inches (30 cm). Then take a short breath through the nose as you draw the hand back to the original position of 6 inches (15 cm) from the chest.
Create a steady rhythm with the mantra and the breath.
To End: Inhale deeply, hold, and relax completely.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
This meditation can be found at the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings.